'My son is not the same man anymore': Gatineau family home after deadly Mexican crash

The Gatineau, Que., family involved in a deadly crash in Mexico has returned home, but close relatives say they will never be the same.
Stephanie Horwood, 42, of Gatineau, Que., was killed in Tuesday's bus crash in eastern Mexico. Her partner Fred Reinthaler, right, arrived home Thursday with their two daughters. (Facebook)

The Gatineau, Que., family involved in a deadly crash in Mexico has returned home, but close relatives say they will never be the same.

The mother, father, and two daughters were on a cruise vacation on Tuesday when they stopped in Mexico for a bus tour of Mayan ruins. The bus flipped over on a highway, killing 12 people, about 175 kilometres south of Tulum.

Stephanie Horwood, 42, died in the crash. Her husband, Fred Reinthaler and their two daughters, nine and 11, arrived home on a private flight last night after spending the past few days in a Mexican hospital.

Reinthaler's mother, Carole Pommet, said she doesn't recognize her son. The injuries to his leg from the crash are so severe he cannot walk and is now using a wheelchair, she said.

"My son is not the same man anymore," Pommet said.

She said he's in a lot of physical pain, but it's nothing compared to the emotional pain of losing his wife.

'She wants to see her mom'

The two girls were mostly unharmed. But since returning home, they haven't spoken much, Pommet told CBC.

Stephanie Horwood was killed in Tuesday's bus crash in eastern Mexico. (Facebook)

Thursday night, the grandparents couldn't find one of the girls in the house. She was located in the basement looking at photos of her mother.

"She wants to see her mom again," Pommet said. The last time they saw her was at the scene of the crash.

The family is looking for some kind of psychological care for the two girls, and a nurse who can help Reinthaler cope with his physical injuries.

Pommet said the family is also struggling to cope with the basics, like preparing meals.

"We need so much help, we don't know where to go, who to reach," she said.

Meanwhile Horwood's family is working to have her remains transported to her hometown of St. John's, where they will hold the funeral.

A separate service will also be held in Gatineau.